Translating Aotearoa


News from the industry

February 2015 News

We all have favourite authors… but do you have favourite translators? Marty Orzio, Chief Creative Officer at Grupo Gallegos, does and writes in Engage:Hispanics to explain why, and how it inspires his daily work.

Larry Taylor, a senior lecturer at the Department of Psychology of Northumbria University reports on The Conversation on the findings of research conducted by a team of scientists from Peking University in China. They have found that differences between Mandarin and English change the way the brain’s networks operate!

Bangladesh’s Dhaka Tribune calls for a boost to translation efforts to support the use of the Bangla language. Most people in Bangladesh ‘need and want to see more works translated into Bangla, not rely on English’.

New York Times’s Nicholas Wade reports on the latest developments of research into language history, and announces that the debate around the originis of the languages of India, Iran and Europe may soon be over. His is a fascinating account of how biology plays a key part in determining the history of languages.

Bill and Quintin went to the NZSTI Conference

Quintin Ridgeway and Bill Ashwell attended the 2014 Conference of NZSTI, which was held on 21-22 June at the Hotel Mercure on the Auckland waterfront. This year’s theme was “Communicating in a Connected World”. People attending the conference came from all around New Zealand from Awanui to Ashburton, and there were three speakers from Australia; one translator came from Saudi Arabia.

The keynote speaker was Dr Ignacio Garcia of the University of Western Sydney, who spoke about his research on the challenges posed to professional translators by developments such as machine translation and crowdsourcing. Another contribution from Australia was given by Sam Berner, a highly experienced translator of Arabic who spoke about the problems of using Arabic on the internet.

Peter Tuffley of the Christchurch branch gave a very interesting talk on “Virtual Collegiality in the Global Village”, looking at ways in which translators can post translation problems online and get solutions provided by other translators anywhere in the world, at all times of day.  Hyden Toonen spoke about the art of communication between clients, translation companies and contract translators, which is something we always need to keep in mind.  There was a valuable presentation by John Burton on translation strategies in technical translation, with all his examples taken from the field of hang-gliding.

One of the most entertaining presentations was given by Diana Clark, the manager of Language Line, which operates within the Office of Ethnic Affairs.  Diana once spent nine years in Saudi Arabia editing a medical journal, and spoke about language policy in New Zealand with reference to the latest census results.

The 2015 Conference of NZSTI is due to be held in Wellington.  This will provide a great opportunity especially for local translators to come along and meet translators and interpreters from all around New Zealand and overseas.  Conference is always well worth attending, and we heartily recommend that everyone does their best to come along.


Arohatia te reo – Cherish the language

Last week was Te Wiki o te reo Māori, or Māori Language Week, providing an opportunity to celebrate and learn one of New Zealand’s three official language. The aim of this special week is to help secure Māori’s future as a living, dynamic, and rich language. This year’s theme was Te kupu o te wiki’ (the word of the week), challenging us to learn one Māori word a week for 50 weeks. This week’s word is āpōpō (tomorrow). But don’t leave it until āpōpō to start building your vocabulary. Find your ‘word of the week’ at

Logo saying Arohatia te Reo (Love Te Reo)At the launch of Māori Language Week in Wellington, Chairman of the Māori Language Commission Erima Henare said that it was up to Māori to use the language every day of the year. His organisation is pushing for more use of the language on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, to promote Māori with the younger generation in mind.

Initiatives like flash mob haka are also being encouraged, as is Māori pop music. For instance, Stan Walker, winner of Australian Idol in 2009, released a new song for the occasion. Have a look at the video:


Amy went to the Language Line workshop

Logo of Language LineIt is always a pleasure to attend an event organised by the Office of Ethnic Affairs. They always show great enthusiasm, have nice venues, bring together people with common interests, and provide fine food and drinks for a lunch break filled with light-hearted conversations and industry rumours.

The recent workshop held on Saturday 16 November was not an exception. Registered attendees were welcomed at a desk in the lobby of the first floor of the TSB Building, with name tags, gift/information packs and coffee all ready. The Language Line team even arranged for a uniformed security guard to stand outside the government building to let people in.

The seminar started at 9:30am. People were split into smaller groups sitting at different tables. Language Line Manager Diana Clark launched the event with a PowerPoint presentation, which briefly introduced the Code of Ethics and Risk Management issues for interpreters.

Keynote speaker Vanisa Dhiru, the CEO of Volunteers New Zealand, then took to the stage. As a promising young leader and inspirational business woman, Vanisa talked about her own story and presented the interpreters with ideas about how to develop their personal brand and market themselves.

Vanisa’s presentation contained some interesting pieces of advice, including:

  • Decide who you want to be.
  • Develop some key messages that you want to share with the world.
  • Project professionalism and confidence in your image.
  • Do not underestimate the importance of networking.

Afterwards, attendees were divided into three different groups to discuss interpreting assignment scenarios, which were all related to the Code of Ethics for interpreters. Each group selected one person to report back to the whole group at the end of the session.

A Q&A session followed. The audience was given the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of three: Diana Clark, Vanisa Dhiru and Michelle Hughes from Interpreting Services Ltd based in Palmerston North. A few interpreters asked how to get people to pay for the service when no written agreement was signed beforehand. Others also wanted to find out what the market rate for interpreters was. Unfortunately no answers were provided during the session.

The seminar ended at about 2:00pm with an informal finger-food and networking lunch.


Language Line workshop

Language Line, the phone interpreting service of the DepartmentLanguage Line logo of Internal Affairs, is organising a workshop for professional translators and interpreters. Those of you located in the Wellington region might be interested in attending.

As an interpreter/translator, are you marketing yourself effectively?Could your interpreting/translation business do with a tune-up?

If you are an interpreter/translator or wish to be one soon, you are warmly invited to a professional development seminar which will give you information about developing your practice.

Where:       Level 1, TSB Building, 46 Waring Taylor Street, Wellington
When:        Saturday 16th November 2013
Time:          9:00am – 1:00pm

It is free to attend and lunch is included along with plenty of networking opportunities. Please tell your interpreting/translating friends about this event.

Click here for more information and register!

Contact the Language Line team on or 0800 656 656.

NZSTI Conference: Bill went to Tauranga

The 22nd Annual Conference of NZSTI was held in Tauranga over the last weekend in June.  It broke new ground by being organised jointly by the Christchurch and Tauranga members, who all did a great job of working together.

View of Tauranga from Mount Maunganui
View of Tauranga from Mount Maunganui

The venue was the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, which sits at the end of the Tauranga Marina looking out to Mount Maunganui.  The weather was beautifully fine, which made it a pity to be pulling the blinds down at the start of each session.

As well as NZSTI members from throughout New Zealand, people had come from Australia including some speakers.  Two ladies from Oman had come all the way to New Zealand to attend the Conference, and made a great contribution to the proceedings.

A major theme this year was the new Code of Ethics, which is the same as the code adopted by our counterparts in Australia.  There were some excellent speakers including Judy Saba, the Diversity Trainer for the New South Wales Police, who is responsible for training police to work more effectively with interpreters.  Claire Loftus Nelson led a panel discussion for freelance translators on how to work with project managers.

NZSTI holds a conference every year, usually in June.  It is a great opportunity for translators and interpreters to come together and meet colleagues who are dealing with similar issues.  This is especially valuable for translators and interpreters who are working freelance and do not have many chances to meet others working in the same field.  Please think about coming along to the next Conference – you will gain so much from it.

Did you go to the conference too? What did you think? Leave a comment to let us know.

Ethics in translation – What’s behind a stamp or a signature?

A few years ago a German translator gave me one of her translations to review. The original document was a university diploma that had been authenticated. As such the original was attached to a first page certifying that the signature on the document was genuine. There was also a ribbon along with a seal. The translator did a fine translation, and felt that she needed to recreate the extra-textual elements such as the seal and the ribbon. She didn’t go as far as to punch a hole in rejectedthe translation and affix a blue ribbon, but she did scan the original with a view to copy and paste the images of the said elements into the translation.

A similar issue arose a few weeks ago. An unhappy customer presented us with a translation that she had had redone by a NAATI-accredited translator based in Australia. The translation we issued and that which the client got from the other translator looked very different. While ours was obviously a translation – it was printed on our letterhead, had the heading ‘Translation xxxx’ etc., stated ‘logo]’, ‘stamp]’ and ‘signed]’ where appropriate – the second translation looked like it had been issued by the same authority as the original. The two documents looked exactly the same, the translation even bore a copy of the official seal. The only indication of its true nature was a line in small print at the end stating the name of the translator.

AUSIT’s Code of Ethics clearly states that ‘interpreters and translators [should] maintain clear boundaries between their task as facilitators of communication through message transfer and any tasks that may be undertaken by other parties involved in the assignment’. If a translation is issued by the same authority as the source text, it should be clear from the start that the reader has a translation in front of his/her eyes – reproducing stamps, signatures, coats of arms etc. may lead to unnecessary confusion, and borders on unethical practice.

In that regard, it should be noted that the NZSTI and AUSIT Codes of Ethics are now fully aligned. The NZSTI membership will formally vote on this at the AGM later this month due to be held at the conference.

EthnicA Conference – ‘Leading with Passion’

The Office of Ethnic Affairs held its third annual EthnicA Conference on a wintry day in Wellington – after the first two held in Christchurch and Auckland. New Zealand ethnic communities are one of the main stakeholders of the Translation Service’s activities, and greatly contribute to its raison d’être. As such, TTS could not afford not to be represented at the event.

Image of notepad with the logo of the Office of Ehtnic Affairs
(c) Office of Ethnic Affairs

Titled ‘Leading with Passion’, the series of conferences addressed the subjects of leadership and ethnic diversity, the challenges and hurdles faced by ethnic individuals, and the great untapped potential that New Zealand’s ethnic diversity represents, both within New Zealand (differentiated skills and interests, flexibility, cultural awareness etc.) and towards overseas economic partners (language skills, connections with countries of origin etc.). In this regard, as a trustworthy translation provider, we play an essential role: we enable communication between ethnic communities and government agencies, and help New Zealanders and New Zealand organisations communicate with the rest of the world.

As the day unfolded, with numerous presentations, panel discussions and workshops, I had the pleasure of meeting two of our panel translators, namely Sevana, one of our Armenian translators, and Arti, one of our Gujarati translators. Arti agreed to contribute to the newsletter and write a few lines on the conference (thank you Arti!):

The Ethnic Conference is an annual event organised by the Office of Ethnic Affairs. The New Zealand society has become much more diverse over the years with the influx of immigrants of various ethnicities. This conference involves speakers and engages audiences in a dialogue about various aspects of ethnic diversity and leadership. The audience gets the chance to hear and discuss not only with experienced leaders but also with emerging ones, through panel discussions, sessions and workshops.

I attended the Ethnic conference of 2013 in Wellington and managed to hear many interesting sessions. The conference was intellectually stimulating and culturally rich. Short and diverse musical performances were enjoyable and reflected Wellington’s cultural diversity.

Personally, I found it quite positive to hear success stories of immigrants and the hurdles they experienced in their respective journey. It was inspiring to see that immigrants have new ideas and special skills that could create amazing and beneficial results for New Zealand, if the right support was provided.

Deputy Mayor Ian McKinnon had an impressive approach to include ethnic communities not only at a professional level but also at a personal level. He was very positive about the interesting mosaic ethnic diversity this can create for any city.

I attended the workshop “A piece of New Zealand’s Artistic Kaleidoscope” and felt that Wellington is so fortunate to be like a melting pot with artists from different countries bringing their unique skills to add to the artistic scene of the city. I enjoyed hearing Hui Luo, director of the Confucius Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, and looking at a range of unique driftwood sculptures created by Ronal Villalobos from Chile.

The EthnicA Conference series was a resounding success – while celebrating New Zealand’s ethnic diversity and many individual success stories, it also addressed important issues and challenges, and represented a great opportunity to network. We strongly encourage you to take part in next year’s series of events.

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